Tesco sparks fury over plans to change checkouts across its stores

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Tesco has announced plans to remove more staffed checkouts and replace them with self-service checkouts

Tesco customers have attacked the supermarket giant over its plans to replace staffed checkouts with more self-service checkouts.

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The new self-checkouts will be designed for customers with shopping trolleys, whereas previously they were only used for baskets.

The new design means more self-checkouts can be used as customers who have come for a larger shop can use self-service.

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A woman uses a self-service checkout at Tesco

“Lack of customer demand”

Tesco said its larger self-checkout areas for trolleys are three times longer than standard sizes, meaning six bags can be packed at once.

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It also said that manned checkouts would be reduced to “lack of customer demand”.

However, the plans have proved unpopular with some customers saying they would not opt ​​to use the self-checkouts.

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One Twitter user wrote: “I hate the self checkouts; Always walk up to someone at the checkout, say hello, and maybe have a quick chat. And they do the shopping efficiently.”

A second added: “The boss at work told me today he was now moaning at the checkout at Tesco about all the self checkout. Employees actively encourage customers to boycott them. If not enough people are using them, they will be ripped out and replaced with manned tills.”

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A third said: “I’ve never used a self checkout in a store… no matter how long the line, I don’t work there so I expect to be checked out by a human.”

“I never used them. I’d rather stand in line for ten minutes than use it. And by the amount of people queuing up, it’s clear I’m not the only one,” added a fourth.

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A fifth wrote: “Tesco is also pushing hard for card only tills. Another reason to boycott them! Customer service is a thing of the past in their shops.”

Critics have also raised concerns about job security for checkout workers, who could be replaced as the move goes ahead.

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Staff must monitor self-checkouts, e.g. to verify age-restricted product identification or add discounts, but they don’t require the same staffing levels as traditional checkouts.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: The grocer: “We pride ourselves on being able to offer our customers a wide range of checkouts and after successful testing we are introducing new, shopping cart accessible self-checkouts in some of our stores, which offer more space and are easier to use for larger stores.

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“Our colleagues and the friendly service they provide are vital to our stores – they will always be there to support our customers and continue to operate manned checkouts so customers can choose the option they prefer.”

Steve Dresser, CEO of Grocery Insight, said the move is in line with an increasing trend toward self-checkout, as well as stores looking to devote fewer staff hours to front-of-store service.

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He said: “It appears that stores are moving checkouts to self-service, including larger trolley shops (à la Asda) and more space to scan if you’re also shopping customers.

“They are moving to dedicated tills instead of empty tills, which of course are linked to the hours given to the front end.

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“It would make sense as Asda has done the same and we know there has been a growth in self-service and scanning when shopping post Covid.

“This has advantages for customers given the speed of the transaction and the ability to keep track of your grocery bill (since you’re scanning as you shop).

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“Of course there are savings from eliminating the manned checkouts, but the reality is that you rarely open checkouts en masse these days anyway, so it’s underutilized space.

“However, this isn’t always a positive for customers, as some may feel compelled to use self-service options.”

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